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Dublin: 1°C Tuesday 2 March 2021
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The Happy Camper: Bring on the Welsh!

The Happy Camper is soaking up the post-match atmosphere in Dunedin. How we wish we could be there too.

Image: The Happy Camper's view of the action

THERE IS NO room at the inn. We arrive in Dunedin’s city centre and it looks pretty much like we left it.

The bars are overflowing but, this time, there is only one dominant colour. Waitresses paint faces when they should be serving drinks and the crowd heaves as one singing Paul Simon’s ‘Call me Al’ until it’s interrupted by the start of the second half as Wales cruise past Fiji.

The road to the Otago stadium is flooded with green of all shades. After the short walk, the structure appears before us and looks like a Damien Hirst exhibit – the anatomy of a stadium displayed through plexiglass for all to see.

The ground seems temporary, as if when the World Cup moves on it will revert to being a giant tomatoe growing facility, as the trusses look like scafolding and the partitions resemble freight containers. Once in the stand though, little fault can be found. Aside from the roof. The stadium looks like the old Lansdowne and with only a very few blue shirts in amongst the green, the fervent atmosphere makes it feel like it too.

The pre-match confidence soon evaporates away as Italy trade penalties and the dreaded Mexican wave gains momentum.

Sitting behind the goals, we think the breakthrough comes under the posts from Tommy Bowe. It is not to be. There is no doubt, however, that Ronan O’Gara was the right man to steer the ship. Before Brian O’Driscoll and Keith Earls crossed, it was the assurance of ROG that had us on the winning path.

The only slight dampener to the evening came with the news that the Warriors lost the NRL grand final in Sydney. Their story has been a thrilling sideshow to the World Cup.

The final whistle came amidst another disallowed try. It mattered not. Donncha Ryan grins from ear to ear looking like a man who would like to circle the field on a victory lap all night.

He knows it, we know it: Ireland are now  officially headed for Wellington.

Bring on the Welsh, bring on all comers.

READ – Match report: Ireland show the world they’re here to play

READ – BOD: We always believed in ourselves

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